Free Essay

The Significance of Princes Death in Tess of the D'Urbervilles

In: English and Literature

Submitted By RachelEllis
Words 863
Pages 4
At the time the novel is set in, horses such as Prince, were very important to keep up the livelihood of the poor working families such as the Durbeyfields. Prince’s death is a significant turning point in the novel as it triggers a change in Tess’s behaviour and therefore her future from then on with a series of unfortunate events.
Prince was vital to the Durbeyfield family as the only form of transport and manual labour they had, and without it John Durbeyfield can no longer make a living from buying and selling goods at the market. His death brings devastation to the family, and means that they need to find another source of income. Tess sees that she is now the only source of money for the family and feels duty-bound to help.
Tess is driven by intense guilt to make amends “Tis all my doing” which prompts the acceptance of her parents wish for her to go to the D’Urbervilles to seek a portion of the family fortune. This shows the true significance of the death of Prince as it forces Tess to help her parents as she feels she killed prince and ‘ought to do something’.
Moments before the death of Prince, Tess tells Abraham that they live on a ‘blighted star’ and that there is little chance of happiness for them. As if almost to reinforce the point, Princes death proves the fragility of life as poor working families (and therefore the lack of stability they need to have a successful living) and shows them as a victim of fate and the ‘blighted’ world they live on.
The fact that Tess is dreaming of her ‘shrouded knightly ancestry’ before Prince is killed by a large shard of metal could relate back to medieval times where jousters would receive similar injuries. It is almost like the features of Tess’s ‘extravagant’ dreams become a parallel reality as a ‘Prince’ suffered a twisted yet heroic death. This almost serves as a punishment for Tess’s grandiose subconscious thoughts about a better world.
Prince’s death also highlights the consequences of Tess’s parent’s irresponsible actions by sending out a 15 year old out with only her younger brother for company in the early hours of the morning. The fact that Tess feels she ‘could go if Abraham could’ go with her only highlights her young age and the fact that she feels incapable to have her own responsibility. In contrast to today, youths of the time were expected to work or do all they can to bring in an income for the family; which often ended with illnesses, and injuries. In this sense Hardy could be showing his distaste for the injustices of poverty stricken people during the 19th and early 20th centuries and the lack of responsibility Tess’s parents had which increases sympathy in the reader for Tess and the plight of the working class. Also it can be said that her mother’s lack of responsibility is replicated when she sends Tess off to the D’Urbervilles without warning her of any dangers she could encounter. The fact that Tess is asleep before the death of Prince also highlights her innocence and helplessness to the situation and is somewhat prophetic of her future being defenceless to Alec D’Urberville.

The descriptions of blood also mark the introduction of darker themes, which is juxtaposed greatly with Tess’s white dress and descriptions her having childlike features which highlights her innocence and purity. Additionally the permanence of the event is clear as she is ‘splashed from face to skirt with crimson drops’ which further involves her in the accident and forebodes her actions later in the novel. It can also be said that the driving of the stake into Princes body prophesises the rape of Tess in the forest. This seems almost paradoxical as in the novel both Tess and Prince are presented as innocent creatures that are victims to man and the modern world; as Prince (described as rickety as the old cart he pulled) is impaled by a modern mail cart and Tess is plagued by the presence of Alec D’Urberville. Additionally the brutal death of Prince foreshadows danger for the future, the helplessness of the horse is reflected in Tess later on, as she feels an obligation to help her parents and is therefore trapped by what she feels she must do.
Also, the death of Prince so early on in the novel evokes emotion and sympathy in the readers, and shows him as a victim to the poor conditions in which the working class had to live and work in. By doing this Hardy not only further shows his dislike for the treatment of the poor but also increases excitement in the novel and marks the beginning of Tess’s encounters with danger.
Overall the death of Prince becomes significant in the novel as it marks the beginning of darker themes in the novels and foreshadows the danger that Tess will encounter. The death also serves as a punishment for Tess dreaming of better things- as if the world will not allow her to even dream of a life without her every day struggles.

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Tess of the D'Uberville

...Angela Le A3 Book Card Title: Tess of the D’Urbervilles Author: Thomas Hardy Genre (include original copyright date): Tragedy (1891) Setting (remember setting is not just time and place): Victorian Era England, Wessex County, and English peasantry life Characters and Brief Description (include quotes): Tess Durbeyfield: oldest in family, beautiful, naïve, innocent, immature, runs away from her problems, prioritizes family first, believes anything Angel says. “Tess Durbeyfield at this time of her life was a mere vessel of emotion untinctured by experience.” Angel Clare: handsome, intelligent, youngest of 3 sons, father is a parson, expected to follow the rules of the church but instead rebels because he does not fully agree with the teachings of the church, wants to become a farmer, has great passion for Tess but shuns her when she reveals her secret. “Viewing [Tess] in these lights, a regret for [Angel’s] hasty judgments began to oppress him.” Alec d’Urberville: dark but handsome, manipulative, persistent in marrying Tess, not totally but is portrayed devilish. “He had an almost swarthy complexion, with full lips, badly moulded, though red and smooth, above which was a well-groomed black moustache with curled points, though his age could not be more than three- or four-and-twenty.” Joan Durbeyfield: mother of Tess and many other children, widowed through mid-book, seems to care for Tess but is only truly looking out for herself. “You ought to have been more...

Words: 1517 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Color Symbolism in Tess of the D’urbervilles

...Throughout the Victorian Era, writing provided a passage, a gateway, to manipulate a shifting society. Since the family and domestic life were fundamental parts of that society, reading became a source of pleasure attained by staying at home. These Victorian readers had been powerfully affected by the political, fiscal, societal, and religious modifications that had been taking place. They basically revolted in opposition to the development that was taking place, by holding responsible their troubles on religious uncertainty, Darwin and the climb of science, class disparity, poverty, and industrialization. Additionally, Victorians and their obsolete obsession with ‘purity’ spoke out against sex, the liberation of women, and tough individuality in women, considering that they would direct the end of well-built ethical and moral values in the family and in community all together. As a consequence of all of these debates leading to controversies, people gave in to a remarkable horror of transforming and condemned any idea or work that exposed their sense of steadiness. Such condemnation gave rise to many novelists and poets who saw this oppression negatively affecting their imaginative and artistic natures and hence decided to stand against it. One of the writers whose work best exemplifies the Age of doubt was Thomas Hardy, he was an English novelist and poet writing at the end of the 19th century, but for today's readers, his novels frequently appear more modern than......

Words: 3023 - Pages: 13

Free Essay

Old English Literature

...OLD ENGLISH LITERATURE • Palaeolithic nomads from mainland Europe; • New inhabitants came from western and possibly north-western Europe (New Stone Age); • in the 2nd millennium BC new inhabitants came from the Low Countries and the middle Rhine (Stonehenge); • Between 800 and 200 BC Celtic peoples moved into Britain from mainland Europe (Iron Age) • first experience of a literate civilisation in 55 B.C. • remoter areas in Scotland retained independence • Ireland, never conquered by Rome, Celtic tradition • The language of the pre-Roman settlers - British (Welsh, Breton); Cornish; Irish and Scottish Gaelic (Celtic dialect) • The Romans up to the fifth century • Britain - a province of the Roman Empire 400 years • the first half of the 5th century the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes (N Germany, Jutland) • The initial wave of migration - 449 A. D. • the Venerable Bede (c. 673-735) • the Britain of his time comprised four nations English, British (Welsh), Picts, and Scots. • invaders resembling those of the Germans as described by Tacitus in his Germania. • a warrior race • the chieftain, the companions or comitatus. • the Celtic languages were supplanted (e.g. ass, bannock, crag). * Christianity spread from two different directions: * In the 5th century St Patrick converted Ireland, in the 7th century the north of England was converted by Irish monks; * in the south at the end of the 6th century Aethelberht of Kent allowed the monk......

Words: 9579 - Pages: 39

Free Essay

Swn Jdkjkjje Jne

...Employment News 31 May - 6 June 2014 www.employmentnews.gov.in 21 UNION PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION EXAMINATION NOTICE NO. 09/2014-CSP (LAST DATE FOR RECEIPT OF APPLICATIONS : 30/06/2014) DATE :31.05.2014 CIVIL SERVICES EXAMINATION, 2014 (Commission’s website-http://upsc.gov.in) F. No. 1/5/2013-E.I(B) : Preliminary Examination of the Civil Services Examination for recruitment to the Services and Posts mentioned below will be held by the Union Public Service Commission on 24th Aug., 2014 in accordance with the Rules published by the Department of Personnel & Training in the Gazette of India Extraordinary dated 31st May, 2014. (i) Indian Administrative Service. (ii) Indian Foreign Service. (iii) Indian Police Service. (iv) Indian P & T Accounts & Finance Service, Group ‘A’. (v) Indian Audit and Accounts Service, Group ‘A’. (vi) Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise), Group ‘A’. (vii) Indian Defence Accounts Service, Group ‘A’. (viii) Indian Revenue Service (I.T.), Group ‘A’. (ix) Indian Ordnance Factories Service, Group ‘A’ (Assistant Works Manager, Administration). (x) Indian Postal Service, Group ‘A’. (xi) Indian Civil Accounts Service, Group ‘A’. (xii) Indian Railway Traffic Service, Group ‘A’. (xiii) Indian Railway Accounts Service, Group 'A'. (xiv) Indian Railway Personnel Service, Group ‘A’. (xv) Post of Assistant Security Commissioner in Railway Protection Force, Group ‘A’ (xvi) Indian Defence Estates Service,......

Words: 47693 - Pages: 191

Free Essay

Whirlpool

...Employment News 11 - 17 February 2012 www.employmentnews.gov.in 21 Union Public Service Commission EXAMINATION NOTICE NO. 04/2012-CSP DATED 11.02.2012 (LAST DATE FOR RECEIPT OF APPLICATIONS : 05.03.2012) CIVIL SERVICES EXAMINATION, 2012 (Commission's website - http://www.upsc.gov.in) F. No. 1/4/2011-E.I(B) : Preliminary Examination of the Civil Services Examination for recruitment to the Services and Posts mentioned below will be held by the Union Public Service Commission on 20th May, 2012 in accordance with the Rules published by the Department of Personnel & Training in the Gazette of India Extraordinary dated 4th February, 2012. (i) Indian Administrative Service. (ii) Indian Foreign Service. (iii) Indian Police Service. (iv) Indian P & T Accounts & Finance Service, Group ‘A’. (v) Indian Audit and Accounts Service, Group ‘A’. (vi) Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise), Group ‘A’. (vii) Indian Defence Accounts Service, Group ‘A’. (viii) Indian Revenue Service (I.T.), Group ‘A’. (ix) Indian Ordnance Factories Service, Group ‘A’ (Assistant Works Manager, Administration). (x) Indian Postal Service, Group ‘A’. (xi) Indian Civil Accounts Service, Group ‘A’. (xii) Indian Railway Traffic Service, Group ‘A’. (xiii) Indian Railway Accounts Service, Group 'A'. (xiv) Indian Railway Personnel Service, Group ‘A’. (xv) Post of Assistant Security Commissioner in Railway Protection Force, Group ‘A’ (xvi) Indian Defence Estates Service, Group ‘A’. (xvii) Indian......

Words: 50586 - Pages: 203

Premium Essay

Learning Theory

...Beginning theory An introduction to literary and cultural theory Second edition Peter Barry © Peter Barry 1995, 2002 ISBN: 0719062683 Contents Acknowledgements - page x Preface to the second edition - xii Introduction - 1 About this book - 1 Approaching theory - 6 Slop and think: reviewing your study of literature to date - 8 My own 'stock-taking' - 9 1 Theory before 'theory' - liberal humanism - 11 The history of English studies - 11 Stop and think - 11 Ten tenets of liberal humanism - 16 Literary theorising from Aristotle to Leavis some key moments - 21 Liberal humanism in practice - 31 The transition to 'theory' - 32 Some recurrent ideas in critical theory - 34 Selected reading - 36 2 Structuralism - 39 Structuralist chickens and liberal humanist eggs Signs of the fathers - Saussure - 41 Stop and think - 45 The scope of structuralism - 46 What structuralist critics do - 49 Structuralist criticism: examples - 50 Stop and think - 53 Stop and think - 55 39 Stop and think - 57 Selected reading - 60 3 Post-structuralism and deconstruction - 61 Some theoretical differences between structuralism and post-structuralism - 61 Post-structuralism - life on a decentred planet - 65 Stop and think - 68 Structuralism and post-structuralism - some practical differences - 70 What post-structuralist critics do - 73 Deconstruction: an example - 73 Selected reading - 79 4 Postmodernism - 81 What is postmodernism? What was modernism? -...

Words: 98252 - Pages: 394

Free Essay

Gabriel's Inferno

...Prologue Florence, 1283 The poet stood next to the bridge and watched as the young woman approached. The world ground to a near standstill as he remarked her wide, dark eyes and elegantly curled brown hair. At first he didn’t recognize her. She was breathtakingly beautiful, her movements sure and graceful. Yet there was something about her face and figure that reminded him of the girl he’d fallen in love with long ago. They’d gone their separate ways, and he had always mourned her, his angel, his muse, his beloved Beatrice. Without her, his life had been lonely and small. Now his blessedness appeared. As she approached him with her companions, he bowed his head and body in a chivalrous salute. He had no expectation that his presence would be acknowledged. She was both perfect and untouchable, a browneyed angel dressed in resplendent white, while he was older, world-weary and wanting. She had almost passed him when his downcast eyes caught sight of one of her slippers — a slipper that hesitated just in front of him. His heart beat a furious tattoo as he waited, breathless. A soft and gentle voice broke into his remembrances as she spoke to him kindly. His startled eyes flew to hers. For years and years he’d longed for this moment, dreamed of it even, but never had he imagined encountering her in such a serendipitous fashion. And never had he dared hope he would be greeted so sweetly. Caught off balance, he mumbled his pleasantries and allowed himself the indulgence of a......

Words: 188392 - Pages: 754